North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country. And what makes a hike even better? A waterfall!

Here are some of the best hiking trails in North Carolina that feature magnificent waterfalls.

1. Linville Gorge Wilderness Area – Marion, NC

Hike Difficulty: Moderate to Hard

Trail Length: 12 miles

Linville Gorge Wilderness Area is one of the most popular hiking destinations in North Carolina, and for good reason.

The 12-mile trail features several different waterfalls, including Linville Falls and Babel Tower Falls. The trail is moderate to difficult, so it’s not recommended for beginners. But if you’re up for a challenge, the views are more than worth it.

2. Elk Knob State Park – Todd, NC

Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Trail Length: 5 miles

Elk Knob State Park is a beautiful 5-mile loop that takes you past two waterfalls—Elk Falls and Jones Falls. The trail is easy to moderate so you don’t need to get much in shape, making it perfect for families with young children and toddlers or beginner hikers.

3. Pilot Mountain State Park – Pinnacle, NC

Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Trail Length: 4 miles

Pilot Mountain State Park offers stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains, as well as two waterfalls—Chimney Rock Falls and Cooks Wall Falls.

The 4-mile loop is easy to moderate, making it a great option for those looking for an enjoyable but not overly challenging hike.

4. Grandfather Mountain – Linville, NC                                                                           

Hike Difficulty: Moderate                                                           

Trail Length: 5 miles

Grandfather Mountain is one of the most popular hiking destinations in North Carolina. The 5-mile trail features several different attractions, including a covered bridge, several mountaintop ponds, and two waterfalls—Profile Falls and MacRae Meadows Falls.

The trail is moderate in difficulty, so it’s not recommended for beginners. But if you’re up for a challenge, the views are more than worth it.

5. Stone Mountain State Park – Roaring Gap, NC

Hike Difficulty: Easy     

Trail Length (out and back): 2 miles

Stone Mountain State Park is home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the state—Stone Mountain Falls.

The falls are accessible via an easy 2-mile out-and-back trail that starts at the park office. Along the way, you’ll also get views of the Johns River Gorge and East Prong Roaring River.

6. Morrow Mountain State Park – Albemarle, NC

Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Trail Length (loop): 3 miles

Morrow Mountain State Park features a 3-mile loop trail that takes you past three waterfalls—Lower Cascades Falls, Upper Cascades Falls, and Driftwood Falls. The trail is easy to moderate in difficulty and can be hiked year-round.

7. Mount Mitchell State Park – Burnsville, NC

Hike Difficulty: Hard

Trail Length (out and back): 6 miles

Mount Mitchell State Park is home to the tallest mountain peak in the Eastern United States—Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet). The park also features several different waterfalls, including cascades near Camp Alice Austell and Cascades near Deep Gap Trailhead.

Both falls are accessible via a 6-mile out-and-back hike that starts at the Deep Gap Parking Area. Please note that this hike is considered difficult due to its length and elevation gain/loss (approximately 3,000 feet).

8. Crowder’s Mountain State Park – Kings Mountain, NC

Hike Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Length (out and back): 5 miles

Crowder’s Mountain State Park features two different trails that lead to waterfalls—the Pinnacle Peak Trail and Crowders Creek Trail. The Pinnacle Peak Trail takes you to two different falls—Balanced Rock Falls (0 .6 miles from trailhead) and King’s Pinnacle Falls (1 .4 miles from trailhead). Meanwhile, the Crowders Creek Trail takes you to Crowder’s Fall s (2 .2 miles from trailhead). All three trails are moderate in difficulty, but please note that they can be quite crowded on weekends during peak season.